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Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

Exceptional Education at the Heart of the Community

The Guardian feature success of Oasis Nurture programme

The Guardian feature success of Oasis Nurture programme

The therapeutic programme we have been trialling for our pupils, that was designed by the Kids Company founder, Camila Batmanghelidjh, is to be rolled out to more schools after the pilot scheme showed a dramatic improvement in test results.

The Nurture programme, which supports children who face multiple adversities in their lives, has been running in Oasis Academy Johanna. Not only do SATs results appear to have gone up, attendance and attention have improved and there has been less disruption in class.

Rev. Steve Chalke, the Founder of Oasis, said there had been a 40-percentage point increase in Key Stage 2 SATs results for our pupils at Oasis Academy Johanna, aged 10- and 11-year-olds, where the trial has been running. Now in its third year, the programme will be rolled out to other Oasis primaries and a Nurture guide will be made available to schools across the country.

Nurture is an attachment theory-based programme aimed at supporting children who, because of challenging situations in their lives, find school hard to relate to and can behave in destructive ways, harming themselves or distracting others.  Steve said.

"Rather than punishing children who “kick off” in class, Nurture helps them to “connect to themselves and others and, in this way, to become more resilient whenever something upsets them or makes them anxious”.

The programme “is not a quick-burst diagnostic intervention to respond to medical or mental health conditions but instead a longer-term programme, enabling children to rebuild trust, often damaged where attachments have been impaired”.

In the next academic year, the programme will be rolled out to five more Oasis primary schools. 

Children are linked with a trusted adult – someone other than a teacher – who provides a safe space for children to express themselves. Then, using art, play and music, children are helped to explore and communicate their anxiety.

One parent at the school, who has two children at Johanna, said she had seen first-hand the impact of the programme. “I have to say it genuinely has made an enormous difference to my kids as individuals, but also to the whole feel of the school,” she said. “It’s basically therapy, but the kids don’t realise. Both of mine have been miles more happy. It doesn’t sound like it would make a massive difference but it really has.”

At Johanna, where more than half of pupils are eligible for free school meals, Nurture’s impact had been “dramatic”, Steve said. “Not only did the school’s Key Stage 2 SATs results for 2023 increase by more than 40 percentage points, but it became the highest-ranking Oasis primary academy, with combined reading, writing and maths outcomes far above the national rate of 59%, at 82%.”

In the next academic year, the programme will be rolled out to five more Oasis primary schools – one in London, two in Birmingham and two in Bristol. “We will expand Nurture to cover six schools. The year after, more,” Steve said, “as we successively roll it out over the years ahead.”

This article has been adapted from the article featured in The Guardian, written by Sally Weale - Education correspondent. Mon 22 Jan 2024 14.00 GMT.

Read more of The Guardian article here - https://www.theguardian.com/education/2024/jan/22/nurture-therapy-programme-dramatic-rise-sats-results-london-school-camila-batmanghelidjh